I'm currently working on a B2B website targeted to the city I live in and I started doing some research and looking how big B2B portals (such as alibaba.com, globalsources.com, etc.) are designed, and how they deal with displaying information and organizing it. I realized that they tend to be very 'crowded' looking and repetitive, specially when showing search results. Many times the information provided is redundant and displayed in an illogical way, and sometimes it just shows too much options.
Many of these sites are more than a decade old, so perhaps it's because they've been adding features and dealing with tons of information at the same time, with no fresh start that it lead to such messy looking sites.
But it made me wonder, maybe it's not at all accidental. Maybe unconsciously a very crowded and full looking site gives users some sense of security towards it. Like it's used by a lot of people (which they are, but still) or that they have a lot of options that they don't even need (making it look that they are worth paying for), etc.
While minimalism and concreteness works great for services like Google, maybe it doesn't work for all kinds of sites, but maybe I'm wrong in this.
So my question is, when designing a website, should one always strive for minimalism, simplicity and non-repetitiveness? Are those characteristics inherently good?